This week we had a visitor who is very conscious of her diet and really does her best to eat healthful food. So I was somewhat astonished when she began describing the part that soy products have in some of her favorite recipes.
It’s been eight years now since I wrote a series of articles about the bad consequences of eating soy products and how the soy product manufacturers have deliberately deceived the public. I am continually astonished at how long it takes the machinations of government and corporations to be known by the public whom they are deceiving. The data is often available by a little research, but that means reading, which seems to be an endangered skill nowadays.
However, I know that people who read my blog are readers because I don’t fill the page with pictures or videos, and some still read the words in spite of that.
Here then is a major piece of industrial chicanery concerning soy beans that I wrote about in The Healing Heart of Sophia newsletter, Sept 2000. Note the date. That’s coming up to eight years ago and people are still sold on the idea of soy products as healthful and valuable adjuncts to diet. References to other articles are from a series written for that particular newsletter.
Long time readers of these newsletters may remember the story of how one of the many royal monarchs named Louis made the French peasants eat the newly discovered potatoes from the New World.
The peasants could not be coerced or persuaded to eat this strange new food until King Louis had great fields planted with potatoes, and then put armed guards around the fields.
The guards had instructions not to be too conscientious at night, but fierce by day.
Realizing that the new things were valued highly for some unknown reason, the peasants worked out ways to steal them. Then they ate them and famines ceased in France and Europe for the first time for centuries.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that it had now became possible to feed large armies through the winter, and that discovery started modern warfare.
Manipulation of the masses is not a new idea, though the modern ways are unlikely to be based on the good of the public. They are always aimed at greater profits for some corporate entity that cares for the public a lot less than the French king cared about the welfare of his subjects.
Many such corporations were represented at the Third International Soy Symposium held in November last year.(1999)
It contained names of companies that are immediately suspect to health writers: names like Monsanto, and Protein Technologies International (PTI), Cargill Foods, and many others. They have been doing a King Louis trick on consumers for the last ten years or so, and it has been extremely successful.
Everybody has heard by now of the 'health giving' properties of tofu, soy milk and a dozen or so other soy products. The soy derivatives, such as the isoflavones, diadzen and genistein have had a lot of very positive attention as being similar to oestrogen.
The FDA even allowed a 'health claim' for products containing small amounts of soy protein, after a bit of chicanery unusual even for them, that we'll deal with later.
That was in October last year, so the November symposium got off to a Ra-Ra start. For four days the very-well-paid publicists and 'research' scientists of the big companies talked to the Press, and therefore the public, about how wonderful their products were.
Well, just to balance the picture a little let's have a look at what those scientists left out of their reports to the congregation at the Temple of Food Processors in Washington.
Most people hardly ever see a soybean, only its products after processing. And that's where the money comes in. In this country it was Graham and Kellogg in the 19th century who began messing with perfectly nutritious foods.
Read history and you will see that they did it to counter the effects of constipation and masturbation, both subjects of great interest to the Victorian era. But their processed foods cost lots more than the raw material, and are less nutritious.
Every time a process occurs and a bright new package is initiated, the price goes up. In Japan you get the bean itself as an hors d’oeuvre. Go to a bar and order a half liter of beer and you will be given a little bowl of boiled-in-the-pod soy beans free.
Here it is possible to go to the farmers' markets and get a few pounds, or a 50 pound bag of soy beans, and the farmer gets his price and you get the whole bean.
After the manufacturer has messed with them we get packages and quart containers of this and that derivative for dollars, and the farmer gets maybe two cents after the middle parties have taken their cut. You get a less nutritious or even unhealthful product because of unnatural concentrations of ingredients.
Just before the First World War the USDA brought out its handbook, and soy beans were listed as an industrial product, not a food.
Last year (1999) there were 72 million acres of soy beans under cultivation, producing billions of bushels of something that wasn't even considered as a food item back then.
Most of this harvest has been used to feed pigs, chickens, cattle, and other farm animals.
The extracted oil has been used for margarine, shortening for cooking, and as a base for salad dressings, all very profitable.
But there was a waste product. The defatted, but high protein soy chips couldn't be eaten or used for anything. It is however an American business axiom that with a bit of PR work the American public can be persuaded to consume the waste products of just about any industrial processes.
Two glaring examples are the aluminum industry with its chronically poisonous waste product of sodium fluoride, and the A-bomb industry with the same extremely poisonous waste product.
Just about everyone now has this stuff in their toothpaste and in their drinking water, despite all the evidence that shows how harmful it is to all living creatures. Check back on my article on the story behind the fluoride hoax and how it was engineered..
A slightly less criminal act was that of the lumber industry that had thousands of tons of sawdust that it couldn't dispose of, but managed to get it legal to call the sawdust an organic component of bread. And it went into the 'enhanced' loaves as natural fiber.
How did the same Yankee ingenuity of the soybean processors deal with their waste product? They invented a brilliant piece of technology that produced isolated soy protein. It tasted terrible, but by adding flavorings and sweeteners, by emulsifying and adding cheap synthetic vitamins, like the cheap additives in 'enriched' bread, it became possible to use the stuff as a meat substitute or as an extender, in some foods, for poor people.
People didn't buy the products because doing so advertised the fact that they were poor, so the industry did what King Louis did, and what the Nestlé company did with their baby formula in Third World countries. They deliberately added status to it.
By deliberately connecting breast feeding to poverty, and by having people in white coats giving away baby formula in hospitals, Nestle made formula feeding desirable and breast feeding shameful. Hundreds of thousands of Third World babies died as a result, many of them with a formula bottle on their grave, but the shareholders were satisfied. That however is another story. The principle used is the point.
Here is the soy version of that strategy in the actual words of an industry spokesman:
" The quickest way to gain product acceptability in the less affluent society is to have the product consumed on its own merit in a more affluent society."
So they marketed soy to the yuppies, not as a poverty food that can be used as a substitute for expensive meat, but as a miracle food that can prevent heart disease and cancer, deal with osteoporosis and the other diseases of an affluent society like ours.
Dairy, meat and eggs began to get bad press. Any outbreak of problems due to infected hamburgers got nationwide coverage immediately in the media.
Eggs were tightly bound to the dreaded word 'cholesterol' though every egg contains the lecithin that counters the cholesterol effect, and eggs are totally innocent of producing cholesterol problems.
But soy protein is wonderful, and to eat it is a virtuous act of ecological savoir faire by the educated elite of society.
To perform such a continental and international piece of PR (lies) a great deal of money was needed, and was available. It always is for lies. It’s the truth that is underfunded.
All producers of soybeans pay a half to one percent of the net market price of soybeans to the United Soybean's PR program to 'strengthen the position of soybeans in the marketplace...'
That comes to over $80 million annually. State soybean councils from seven states provide another two to three million for research. Archer Daniels Midland spent $4.7 million on advertising on Meet the Press, and $4.3 million on Face the Nation, in a single year. The whole newsletter could be filled with such examples, but you get the idea.
The 'research' of course comprises experiments and results that agree with the propaganda of the industry. Money can always buy experts.
Remember my article about Dr. Hayes who was Reagan’s political appointee as Commissioner of the FDA, only so that he could by-pass the opposition to the approval of Searle's terrible artificial sweetener, aspartame? When that was done, and the dangerous aspertame was in 1200 products, he left the FDA and was immediately employed by his real employer, Searle, as a PR man.
The man who engineered this piece of chicanery was Rumsfeld, then CEO of Searle at the time, who promised the Searle directors that he could get aspartame approved by the FDA in spite of all the research showing how dangerous it was to the nervous system.
Remember my tobacco company article about Dr. Fishbein, the editor of the AMA Journal who for twenty years promoted cigarette advertising as ‘doctor approved cigarettes’ in the AMA Journal and had enormous retainer fees from two major cigarette companies. Those retainers equaled the then salary of the President of the US.
What the soy companies knew and didn't say is almost a re-run of the approach of the tobacco industry.
Let's start with how the FDA got to allow the health claim for soy. The original petition submitted to the FDA by Protein Technology International requested that they could make a health claim for isoflavones. These are estrogen-like compounds found in large amounts in soybeans. The assertion that PTI wanted the FDA to agree to was
" Only soy protein that has been processed in a manner in which isoflavones are retained will result in cholesterol lowering."
In 1998 the FDA did something that makes me think that someone has got themselves a great place at PTI when they did leave the FDA. The FDA rewrote the petition and removed any mention of the phytoestrogens. They substituted a claim for soy protein, to which of course, as they wrote it, they agreed.
The FDA is legally allowed only to make rulings on substances presented by petition. Changing anything in the petition is totally against policy and authority. But they did it. One possible reason is the number of reports they were receiving from scientists who were not paid by PTI, that isoflavones were toxic.
Even though they now had only to deal with soy protein, the FDA still had to do lots of fancy foot work to avoid the known research about the way such soy products can block the absorption of essential minerals, how they can inhibit the effects of body enzymes, their deleterious effect on the thyroid, problems they produce in the reproductive system, and increased allergic responses. Great health food!
But the FDA is practiced at such matters and the " rigorous approval process" went through as far as the seal of approval for " products low in fat and cholesterol" that contain 6.5 grams of soy protein per serving.
The actual problems known to researchers were side stepped for the sake of the millions of dollars involved. What they are we shall now see. Every reader who uses soy products should take note, just in case you may be affected.
The soy industry took a leaf out of the book of the masters of distortion, the AMA. When it became clear that America was the only industrialized nation in the world that didn't have a comprehensive health care system available at little or no charge to all citizens, the AMA became nervous.
They reckoned that a national health service would cut down on the practically unlimited income and prestige of the doctors, so they levied a compulsory donation from all their members and contracted a Public Relations firm in California to make the words "socialized medicine" a really bad sound to everyone.
The firm did a good job. There are hundreds of people that I have spoken to who know nothing whatever about the health systems in other countries, but they do know that 'socialized medicine' would be a bad thing, even if their drug bills are so high that they have to choose between medicine and food, or the insurance won't pay for preventive medicine.
The soy companies decided wisely to deal with the children first. They hired the PR firm of Norman Robert Associates, to "get more soy products onto school menus." PR usually works well in this country, and the USDA responded to the effort by proposing to scrap the 30% soy content limit in school lunches. By adding soy enhanced products to the hamburgers and lasagna the dietitians can work their statistics and come up with less than 30% fat in the meal, and claim more nutrition because of the soy. This and other marketing ploys have been amazingly successful. In 1980 for example, soy milk profits were $2 million. Last year (1999) it was $300 million.
Michael Milliken, famous as a junk bond financier, has helped the industry with his well publicized efforts to persuade people to eat 40 grams of soy protein daily. This is most amazing to the food historian who knows that even in the early part of the last century, the soybean was not considered fit to eat by anybody, even in Asia.
The ancient ones of China knew from observation that eating soy beans prevented many other foods from giving any benefit to the body. It wasn't until the 2nd century BC that some genius found that it was possible to ferment soy and that the fermented products, miso, tempeh, natto and soy sauce did not have the same bad effects as untreated soy beans.
Another genius made cooked soy beans into a paste by pounding and then added calcium sulphate or magnesium sulphate and the mix precipitated out a sort of curd; tofu. It was the use of these fermented and precipitated products of soy that spread widely through countries like Japan and Indonesia.
But soy was also eaten like other lentils. The modern scientific research shows the wisdom of the ancient Chinese investigators. Soybeans contain large amounts of what are known as 'antinutrients.' To put it more bluntly, they are toxins that interfere with the metabolism of food. The bean contains powerful enzyme inhibitors that prevent among others, the enzyme trypsin from digesting protein.
These inhibitors are not deactivated by ordinary cooking methods. They can produce gastric problems and protein deficiencies in those that eat them unknowingly. Trypsin inhibitors have caused pancreatic disorders, including cancer, in test animals.
Another component of soybeans is the coagulant haemagglutin, which as its name suggests causes red blood cells to clump together. Both of these factors affect animal growth negatively. Growth depressors are deactivated by the fermentation process, and this the Chinese found by experience, and began incorporating small quantities of fermented products into their diets.
The precipitated products could also be made safer by throwing away the liquid and using only the curd. So tofu and bean curd still contain small amounts of the growth inhibitors but the great majority of them are thrown away in the liquid.
But there's more. Soybeans contain substances that depress the function of the thyroid, and they contain very high amounts of phytic acid. In fact, soy has one of the highest phytate contents of any legume or grain that has been studied.
And phytates are VERY bad news in the diet. They have the effect of blocking the intake of essential elements such as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron. It is diets high in phytates that cause mineral deficiencies in the Third World countries.
This is a prime example of the folly of saying something contains nutrients X, Y, and Z, therefore it is nutritious. They may indeed be there but not available to the body. The grains and legumes eaten in these countries do contain the elements mentioned, but the body never gets to use them because the phytates block their absorption.
As in the case of milk; it doesn't matter how much calcium is in the milk. After it is pasteurized not much is available, and the acidity produced by the dairy product depletes the calcium content of the body.
But back to soy. Even long slow cooking doesn't deplete the phytate content of soy beans very much. Very long periods of fermentation do diminish it significantly.
The Japanese traditionally take a little tofu or miso with fish soup that contains lots of minerals, and then they follow that with a fish or meat serving. But vegetarians would do well to avoid tofu and soy products as sole substitutes for meat and dairy. These foods will affect the absorption of the minerals in the other plant foods that they do eat.
Here is an item of interest to those readers who are on some spiritual journey that entails purifying the body by means of diet. The mineral most affected by soy is zinc. Now zinc is intimately linked to mental states, among other things. It is essential for the proper working of many enzymes. It is part of the sugar control system and actively supports the immune system.
The soil in this country is VERY zinc deficient. Put these together and obviously soy is bad news for the pure body people. One very unfortunate effect is that a zinc deficiency can often manifest as a spacey feeling that the spiritual seeker takes as a positive sign of detachment from the world. It is much more likely to be a zinc deficiency, and will lead to physical problems that may be ingeniously explained as karmic necessities. They aren't.
Everyone has probably heard the Milk Marketing Board propaganda that Asians who come here to live become taller and heavier than those who stay behind. It's the milk they drink say the spokesmen. It is much more likely to be the fact that the diet they eat here, however defective in many ways, is not high in phytates, which curb the growth of those in the mother country.
But the major problems we are encountering are due to the highly touted soy protein, that cannot be produced at home, but is the end product of high temperatures, and acid and alkali washes, that can introduce aluminum into the mess. This aluminum is associated pretty directly by some writers with the plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
The producers are fully aware of the problem of trypsin inhibitors and they remove much of the effect by very high temperature processing. Unfortunately, this very processing denatures the proteins that may have been beneficial. This is why animals fed on soy protein must have lysine as a supplement to ensure normal growth. So much for its benefits as a protein substitute.
Another factor is that in the processing some carcinogens are formed in the spray drying process, and the alkali processing produces a toxin with the name lysinoanaline.
Apart from that, the product still doesn't taste very good so all sorts of chemical flavorings are added, including MSG, which can produce symptoms of a heart attack in some people. It happened to me.
Experiments in feeding animals have shown that the use of this soy protein isolate produced a deficiency in vitamins E, D, K and B12, which required supplementation.
The mineral deficiencies that occurred were those already mentioned: calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper, and also manganese and molybdenum. Animals fed on this stuff developed enlarged thyroids and pancreases, and their livers had high deposits of fatty acids.
Yet soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein are used extensively in school lunch programs, commercial foods and fast food products due solely to the PR previously mentioned, not to the nutritional value of the product.
Its use is being heavily promoted in the Third World by the usual suspects. Soy milk processing plants are being built in Kenya, and even China, where soy has always been a poverty food, is succumbing to the bright tales, and is building large factories to make tofu, instead of other sources of protein.
The facts about this scam are in the scientific literature that is not produced by the soy bean industry, and soy is now being called 'the next asbestos' by some scientists.
And while we are at it, just take a look at something I wrote in January 1999 for another newsletter. The title was, 'Monsanto Beans endanger Kids. It shows up one of the major culprits. Here it is:
" In other countries the name Monsanto is a red light, warning caution in buying what they sell, or believing what they say. Here they are largely unchecked because of their financial clout. I have written many, many times, for years about Monsanto products, and warned a long time ago about having the genetic engineering of our food in such unscrupulous hands. Here is what happened in Europe late last year. (1998, Ed)
On October 17, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s Working Group on Biosafety implored:
“all governments to use whatever methods available to bar from their markets, on grounds of injury to public health, Monsanto’s genetically manipulated [herbicide-resistant] Roundup-Ready soybean.”
The warning came after the discovery that application of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide increased levels of plant estrogens in bean crops. “Young children are especially susceptible to elevated levels of estrogen,” warned British geneticist Ricarda Steinbrecher. “There is a clear and serious health issue at hand.”
Roundup-Ready soybeans are now present in an estimated 60 percent of supermarket products. Earlier in September, the European Commission ordered the mandatory labeling of all genetically engineered (GE) soybeans and corn.
This was news almost world wide. Did you hear about it? Why not?
US Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman reflexively backs the interests of big business, of course, and refuses to label GE foods in the US, although he admits it is a “sensitive issue” in Europe. “When I led the US delegation to the  World Food Summit,” Glickman told the European press last June, “protesters pelted me with genetically-engineered soybeans, then took off all their clothes to draw the media’s attention.” It didn't really need that to get the media's attention in Europe. GE foods from Monsanto were already an object of media attention.
Here, the big companies will use every legal wrangle, quibble, and technicality to counter the efforts of the health conscious to get the truth out to others. They are also using business trickery to retain their commercial advantage over the providers of natural products.
Polls in the US, Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan find 80 to 90 percent of consumers demand mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. In the U.S. such concerns are generally ignored by politicians, whose coffers are filled with GE lobbyist’s money, but elsewhere legal pressure is being applied in favor of the consumer. However, the world’s largest grain multinationals are very cleverly preparing for such eventualities as boycotts of their GE products.
Cargill, Continental, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, and Central Soya publicly proclaim that it is “impossible,” or “economically impractical,” to
separate and label gene-altered grains. Not true of course.
But they face a growing international demand for certified non-GE corn and soybeans, so Cargill, ADM and other grain cartels have begun supplying non-GE soy and corn to their major European customers secretly.
According to the Pure Foods Campaign (PFC), a Continental Grain spokesperson admitted that his company was “taking orders” for certified non-GE grain. Meanwhile, several US food multinationals are preparing to segregate their products to avoid possible consumer boycotts.
PFC reports that Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, has made “backroom deals” with the cartels to supply all the natural grains they need —as long as Tesco keeps its sources secret. By this piece of chicanery Tesco gets a marketplace advantage over its GE product rivals by being able to advertise a full line of non-GE products. At the same time, by secret deals, the grain cartels avoid risking the loss of their market dominance to independent natural grain brokers.
Watch the family magazines for articles about how the wonderful scientists of the big corporations are trying to solve the problems of world hunger. Read them with great care. Then take a shower.
Remember that this was written eight years ago. How much of it has trickled through to you?